Countries have been transmitting their cultures and traditions to other nations for centuries. People refer to this as cultural imperialism. It is the practice of promoting, differentiating, separating, and artificially introducing a culture of one nation to another (Sévenier 1). In the past centuries, European countries have been famous for their cultural imperialism.
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Britain and France were the most notorious for transmitting their cultures using political and military force. This gave rise to colonization and defamed cultural imperialism. However, in time America has replaced Europe in spreading the famous western culture to the world. In fact, every corner of the globe feels the influence of the American culture. Nonetheless, this has given rise to many questions such as the intentions of America, the positive, and the negative impacts (Galeota 22).
Spreading of the American culture
Unlike in the past cultural imperialism today does not use military or political strength of a country in order to transmit culture. Conversely, countries use more friendly tactics to propagate culture. American’s propagate their culture through media, cultural trade fairs, and trading activities. The Americans do this by using their high quality and incomparable music and films. Further, America sells unique and quality goods and services such as coca cola. In addition, Americans use methods that are less subtle and brutal as compared to the Britons.
This positively contributes to easy transmission and friendly reception of the American culture. Further, in their bid to inject their culture into other nations Americans familiarize with the intended nation. For example, they use diverse races in their advertisements. Obviously, this favors the spread of American cultures such as free enterprise, Individualism, materialism and consumerism. The success of American cultural imperialism is evident by the widespread use of English language, adoption of American dressing mode, American names, and imitation of American films and music among others (Griffin 1).
Benefits of American culture to the world
The main positive impact of transmitting the American culture is creating homogeneity in the world. This eases communication by allowing use of a common language and adoption of culture (Movius 10). This is beneficial especially in times of crisis. Secondly, America spreads universal truths and human rights values alongside culture. Using the media America transmits concepts of freedom of expression, democracy, rights, and equality this is significant to citizens of authoritarian countries. Additionally, America has contributed to world’s economic growth. Through transmitting culture, the countries interact and engage in trade (Arowolo 8).
Threat of American culture to the world
A section of nations in the world has chosen to withstand the American imperialism. They claim that the American imperialism erodes their cultures (Heinrich 380). For example, products like Spiderman and Batman films, Pepsi, and Coca cola replace local products. Consequently, this gradually swallows up the culture of the latter country. Further, nations accuse America of selling their products cheaply. They explain that the cheap products sabotage their locally produced goods and the affect the economy as a whole.
In conclusion, the American culture is widespread throughout the world. Evidently, it has both negative and positive effects on the host nation. Therefore, the host nation has the responsibility of filtering the positive from negative effects of the American culture. Overall, human behavior determines cultural imperialism. This human behavior manifests through speech, actions, and artifacts and depends on man’s capability of learning and transmitting knowledge. Therefore, cultural transmission is inevitable. Moreover, culture is not static and is subject to constant change.
Arowolo, Dare. “The Effects of Western Civilisation and Culture on Africa.” Afro Asian Journal of Social Sciences 1.1 (2010): 1-13. Print.
Galeota, Julia. Cultural Imperialism: An american Tradition.” The Humanist 64.3 (2004): 22-46. Print.
Griffin, Michael. “From Cultural Imperialism to Transnational Commercialization:Shifting Paradigms in International Media Studies.” Global Media Journal 1.1 (2002): 1 Print.
Heinrich, Christof. “The Death of Cultural Imperialism — and Power Too? A Critical Analysis of American Prestige Press Representations of the Hegemony of English.” International Communication Gazette 70.5 (2008): 378-394. Print.
Movius, Lauren. “Cultural Globalisation andChallenges to Traditional Communication Theories.” Journal of Media and Communication 2.1 (2010): 1-13. Print.
Sévenier, Gaëlle. American Cultural Imperialism: Gift or Threat? 2004.